Dinosaurs are a popular topic for many young readers and there are a confusing array of titles on the market. We found some of the gems that deserve consideration for this list.
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For another list that features those who study dinosaurs, see STEM Tuesday.
Baby Touch and Feel: Baby Dinosaur by Dawn Sirett and illustrated by Peter Minister and Eleanor Bates
Follow the action of different kinds of baby dinosaurs, each with textured and colorful patches to feel. It is a tactile adventure!
Grade Level: Preschool and up
Publisher: DK Children; Brdbk edition (May 8, 2018)
Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs by Byron Barton
Explores dinosaur diversity with admirable simplicity. My STEM story time participants could guess what many of the dinosaurs were (they are unnamed in the text). They wanted to hear all the scientific names of the ones they didn’t know, which are given in the last spread of the book. Great choice for preschoolers.
Age Range: 2 – 4 years
Publisher: HarperFestival; Brdbk edition (April 22, 1994)
Dinosaur Roar! by Henrietta Stickland
This older favorite is actually more about opposites than about dinosaurs, but learning opposites is an important STEM skill.
Publisher: Pan MacMillan; UK ed. edition (May 19, 2016)
Dinosaurs! by Gail Gibbons
Discusses current theories about dinosaurs as well as introduces some of the different kinds.
Gail Gibbons has two nonfiction picture books for youngsters. Dinosaurs! is the version for preschoolers. The next book, Dinosaur Discoveries, is for older readers.
Age Range: 3 – 6 years
Publisher: Holiday House; New edition (January 23, 2018)
Dinosaur Discoveries by Gail Gibbons
Unique presentation that groups dinosaurs by families. For example, the ceratopsians are shown on a two-page spread, including the familiar Triceratops, but also Torosaurus, Protoceratops, Pentaceratops, etc. Allows children to see how the different members are similar. Additional information in the back matter, and a map of places fossils have been found in the end papers.
Gail Gibbons has two picture books for youngsters. Dinosaurs! (above) is the version for preschoolers. Dinosaur Discoveries is for older readers.
Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Publisher: Holiday House; New edition (June 12, 2018)
The Truth About Dinosaurs by Guido van Genechten
Narrated by a talking chicken, and featuring dinosaurs on scooters and bikes, The Truth About Dinosaurs wanders into the realm of informational fiction. Still, it is a delightful, fun, imaginative introduction to the idea that birds and dinosaurs are related.
As the chicken says,
Obviously I’m a dinosaur. Look at my feet. These are dinosaur feet, right?
Age Range: 4 – 6 years
Publisher: Clavis (August 1, 2018)
How Big Were Dinosaurs? by Lita Judge
The illustrations feature people and modern animals next to different kinds of dinosaurs to help put their different sizes into clearer perspective. Starts with Microraptor, which was about as big as a chicken.
Because this is an older book, the biggest listed is Argentinosaurus. Now we know Titanosaur (the next book in the list) was even bigger.
Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press; First edition (August 27, 2013)
Titanosaur: Discovering the World’s Largest Dinosaur by Diego Pol, Jose Luis Carballido, and Florencia Gigena
Everything about this book is huge (and hugely impressive):
- At 11.8 x 11.8 inches it is physically bigger than most picture books.
- It is written by the actual paleontologists who dug up the dinosaur. Their excitement about the find bounds off of each and every page.
- It features the biggest dinosaur ever found (so far)
- It is likely to appeal to readers far outside its recommended age range
Age Range: 5 – 7 years
Publisher: Scholastic Press (February 26, 2019)
Feathered Dinosaurs by Brenda Z. Guiberson and illustrated by William Low
For the hardcore dinosaur enthusiast, this book explores a number of dinosaurs that were thought to have feathers. Readers will be astonished how much some of them look like birds. The illustrations are not brightly colored or cute, but instead are as scientifically accurate as possible.
Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (March 1, 2016)
Not About Dinosaurs, but Related
I Am NOT a Dinosaur! by American Museum of Natural History, Will Lach, and illustrated by Jonny Lambert
There are any number of weird creatures that lived and went extinct long ago. How can you tell whether they were dinosaurs? With dynamic paper collage illustrations and a succinct but descriptive text, the reader learns that animals from a saber-toothed cat to a plesiosaur were not dinosaurs. The last spread shows a few of the most common dinosaurs for comparison.
Age Range: 4 – 7 years
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books (April 19, 2016)
Although the dinosaur craze generally hits around preschool or the early elementary years, there are plenty of books for older readers who are interested in becoming paleontologists.
Inside Dinosaurs (Inside Series) by Andra Serlin Abramson, Carl Mehling, Jason Brougham and illustrated by Jason Broughham.
With 10 fold-out pages, this book from the American Museum of Natural History has a lot more information than first meets the eye.
Age Range: 9 – 12 years
Publisher: Sterling (October 5, 2010)
Scaly Spotted Feathered Frilled: How do we know what dinosaurs really looked like? by Catherine Thimmesh
Shows how scientific illustrators decide what dinosaurs looked like when drawing or painting them. It’s a question young readers ask and the answers are fascinating!
Age Range: 10 – 12 years
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (October 1, 2013)
Looking for books and science activity suggestions for older kids? Check out these at STEM Tuesday.